Kettle Foods has just started their annual People's Choice awards (where they let their fans pick the next flavor that they bring to market) and I was able to get my hands on an early batch of the chips to give them a try. This year's campaign, called "Fire and Spice" consists of the following flavors:
- Wicked Hot Sauce
- Mango Chili
- Jalepeno Salsa Fresca
- Orange Ginger Wasabi
- Death Valley Chipotle
I held a taste test with some of my co-workers as well as some of my wing-eating friends at the Oregon State football game, here's how things netted out.
The Clear Winner: Mango Chili
At both tasting parties these chips were pretty much the clear crowd favorite. They have a really nice combination of both sweetness and spiciness and aren't by any means overbearing in their heat. I really thing this chip is a winner, we'll see what happens when the rest of the world votes.
.The Runner Up: Death Valley Chipotle
This was the chip that was the most intriuging to me coming out of the bag. The name had me sold that this would be my favorite chip and it is very very good. Unfortunately in my mind, and the mind of almost everybody else, the smoky spicy flavor of this chip just didn't quite live up to the uniqueness of the Mango Chili. That said, I really think Kettle could have a winner on it's hands with this chip, so it shouldn't be dismissed.
The Rest: Jalepeno Salsa Fresca, Wicked Hot Sauce, and Orange Ginger Wasabi
I can wrap up my comments on these three pretty quickly, good, pretty good, and terrible in that order. The Jalepeno Salsa Fresca had a great flavor and to me tasted very similar to the Death Valley Chipotle but not quite as good. The Wicked Hot Sauce chips were good, but were also just pretty plain, Kettle can do much better. And finally, my least favorite of them all was Orange Ginger Wasabi. I have to admit that I'm not a big wasabi fan to start with, but even the rest of the tasters thought that these were pretty bad.
But, why take my word for it, order up a box for yourself (you can get them online through Kettle's web site for $15/total) and then go to the Kettle campaign website and cast your vote:
Peace, love, and grease!
Scott "The Cluckbucket" Roth
The Chip and Wing Eating Crew
Me and the Oregon Fryer Commission Chicken